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Oliver v. Greenwell

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

November 4, 2019

ANNIE LEE OLIVER, Plaintiff,
v.
TOMMY GREENWELL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Annie Lee Oliver's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. After review of plaintiff s financial information, the Court will grant plaintiffs motion. However, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will provide plaintiff thirty (30) days in which to demonstrate that she is the real party in interest and to file an amended complaint.[1]

         Background

         Plaintiff Anne Oliver states that she is bringing this action on behalf of her deceased brother, Michael Benford, who was a pretrial detainee at the Pemiscot County Jail in May 2017. She seeks to bring this action as Mr. Benford's personal representative pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights during his detention, as well as a wrongful death claim. Specifically, plaintiff Oliver states that Michael Benford was denied his "potassium medication" and "other crucial medical treatments" by defendants at Pemiscot County Jail for weeks while he was awaiting trial, and he died in defendants' custody as a result.

         Plaintiff has named Tommy Greenwell[2], Pemiscot County[3], Pemiscot County Jail[4] and John Does 1-10[5] as defendants in this action. She names defendant Greenwell in his individual and official capacities. However, plaintiff has not indicated which of the defendants specifically denied Mr. Benford his medicine or proper medical care or on which specific dates he was denied care.

         Discussion

         The issue in this case is whether Ms. Annie Lee Oliver is the real party in interest, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a), such that she is able to bring this action on behalf of her deceased brother, Michael Benford. Rule 17(a) provides that an "action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest." Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(a)(1). 1041, 1045 (8th Cir. 2003). See also Cascades Dev. of Minnesota, LLC v. Nat'l Specialty Ins., 675 F.3d 1095, 1098 (8th Cir. 2012).

         The purpose of Rule 17(a) "is simply to protect the defendant against a subsequent action by the party actually entitled to recover, and to insure generally that the judgment will have its proper effect as res judicata." Curtis Lumber Co., Inc. v. Louisiana Pac. Corp., 618 F.3d 762, 771 (8th Cir. 2010). As such, the party bringing an action must actually possess, under the substantive law, the right sought to be enforced. United HealthCare Corp. v. American Trade Ins. Co., Ltd., 88 F.3d 563, 569 (8th Cir. 1996).

         Rule 17 provides that the following persons may sue in their own names without joining the person for whose benefit the action is brought:

(A) an executor;
(B) an administrator;
(C) a guardian:
(D) a bailee;
(E) a trustee of an express ...

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